Irish speaker wins court appeal

An appeal court has acquitted an Irish language teacher who had been arrested for talking to the PSNI police in Irish.

Ms Nic an Bhaird was arrested after leaving a bar on the Malone Road in May last year. She denied making the defiant republican call ‘Tiocfaidh Ar La’, meaning ‘Our day will come, to a PSNI unit in Belfast last summer, which led to her arrest on the grounds of disorderly behaviour. The PSNI held her in custody demanding she spoke in English before they let her go.

She was later convicted of the offence at Belfast Magistrate’s Court in February and fined a hundred pounds sterling.

On Friday a judge accepted her appeal against the conviction and she was acquitted.

Ms Nic an Bhaird said she had used the similar phrase ‘Tiocfaidh Bhur La’ - meaning you will have your chance and meant as a reference to her friends.

Speaking afterwards, Sinn Féin’s Bairbre de Brun said Ms Nic an Bhaird, should “never have been in court in the first place”.

“Maire Nic an Bhaird has now spent a long time trying to defending herself,” she said.

“She was brought to court because she spoke Irish on the streets of Belfast.”

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